Aha Mobile is an iPhone app that gives you real-time traffic information you can use safely while driving. It includes social media/crowdsourcing elements and it even helps you find the nearest public bathroom!
Earlier tonight, I met Ryan Knight (@yank), of Aha Mobile, at the second Silicon Valley Tweetup (#svtweetup) organized by Michael Brito (thanks to @Britopian). Ryan works for Aha Mobile, Inc., the maker of this great iPhone app.
I downloaded the app right at the tweetup, while talking with Ryan. He walked me through it and showed me how to find nearby restaurants and businesses (via Yelp).
I was just following along until he pointed out that you can use the app to find nearby public bathrooms! (via SitOrSquat). I don’t know about you, but to me that was the most exciting feature of all.
But wait! There’s more…
Crowdsourcing & Social Stuff
The app let’s you “shout” short voice messages that you can share with everybody in the network.
For example, if a driver runs into a slowdown or sees an accident taking place, she can shout it to the network and other people can find out about it right away and avoid that particular route. Just think about it, you’re driving north on 85, trying to get to downtown Mountain View and you hear “a car just hit a motorcycle at the Evelyn ramp on 85.” In that case, you’ll probably get off at El Camino Real instead.
They have other categories of “shouts,” including #%& Drivers! and CARaoke. Just think about it: in the future, you may be even able to sing along with other drivers, in other parts of the world. A Wired article suggests that it could also be used to flirt with people in nearby cars (during a slowdown, I guess).
BTW, As Ryan explained, some of the shouts are really RoadBoats reports from INRIX, a traffic data service. You can tell which ones these are because they are delivered as synthetized speech (no, it’s not Stephen Hawkins shouting traffic reports).
What about Twitter?
Yes, I know: this was a tweetup, an all-about-Twitter kind of event and here I am writing about an iPhone app instead.
Well, then, to be fair, I should mention CommuTweet, a service that, according to Cnet News “lets those who are unfortunate enough to get stuck in traffic, or a long-delayed bus or train line to share that information with others.’ According to the article,
users have to construct their outgoing messages in a special format. This starts with a #CommuTweet hash tag, followed by the abbreviated name of the state, followed by a one letter short code that tells other users what part of the transit system is down or backed up, be it bus, subway, ferry and rail. When completed, this leaves users with around 125 letters to type any additional information about what’s gone wrong.
The Cnet News article also mentions TrafficTweet, “which lets users tweet traffic alerts for specific cities. It also has a mobile app which can add exact location and show you where jams are happening, which CommuTweet cannot currently do.”
Download the App
Click here to download Aha from the iTunes Store The more people using the app, the more useful it becomes.